By Lance Arevada


In a last-minute move the night before the planned pilot implementation of granular lockdown, quarantine restrictions in the National Capital Region (NCR) will still remain under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until September 15, the government announced on Tuesday.

This is in an apparent reversal of an earlier plan to place Metro Manila under general community quarantine (GCQ) with pilot alert level systems starting September 8 in which localized granular lockdowns will be placed within selected streets or barangays.

“The IATF deferred the pilot implementation of the GCQ with Alert Levels System in the NCR. Metro Manila’s current risk classification as MECQ shall be maintained until Sept 15, 2021, or until the pilot GCQ with Alert Level System is implemented, whichever comes first,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

Indoor and al-fresco dining are remained prohibited in NCR, as well as the operation of personal care services including beauty salons, beauty parlors and nail spas.

Meanwhile, online religious services will still be allowed, and only immediate family members can attend necrological services, wakes, inurnment and funerals as long as the deceased died of non-COVID-19 causes.

“However, they need to show satisfactory proof of their relationship with the deceased and have to comply with the minimum public health standards,” Roque added.

The supposed new system that will first be implemented in NCR was introduced last week, but the complete guidelines is still yet to be released by the government.

Prior to the deferral, Roque first promised that the guidelines will be announced on Tuesday, yet he has not released this in his daily press briefing.

Following the announcement, Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto said in a tweet that the postponement is the only thing that they know as of the moment.

MECQ is still in place in the following areas until September 30: Apayao, Bataan, Bulacan, Cavite, Lucena City, Rizal, Laguna, Iloilo, Iloilo City, and Cagayan de Oro City.

Report source: Rappler